Multi-state drug bust focuses on Wood County
Officials say largest sting ever; 150 pounds of meth seized
PARKERSBURG — The knock at the door at 6 a.m. was not a neighbor as members of the Parkersburg Narcotics and Violent Crimes Task Force (PNTF) along with federal agencies swept through Parkersburg residences, arresting 30 people and confiscating 150 pounds of methamphetamine, four pounds of heroin and approximately $86,000 in currency.
Multiple units in teams of six to eight members gathered at approximately 5 a.m. Thursday in Parkersburg and deployed shortly afterward with the operation getting underway at 6 a.m.. Williamstown Police Chief Shawn Graham stated by 6:45 a.m., agents had secured 20 of the 30 arrests made. “It was fast. No one came to play games. It was all serious and everyone seemed to come through it with no injuries.”
“It’s the biggest drug investigation in the history of the Parkersburg Police Department,” said Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin. “Our reach into being able to deal with drug trafficking is farther than it ever has been because of the cooperation of the departments within Wood County. The mission today is to make the area safer for kids and all people of Wood County. Because of today, we can be a lot more aggressive on our targets.”
Martin stated the PNTF has members of the Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown police departments, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police.
At a noon press conference Thursday, United States Attorney of the Southern District of West Virginia Michael B. Stuart stated the 150 pounds of confiscated meth “not only breaks the West Virginia record for most poundage confiscated at one time but the Ohio record as well.” Stuart said the usual meth buy would be for an ounce or less, “so you can see how many hits of meth were taken off the streets of Parkersburg by today’s actions.”
At 16 ounces per pound and one ounce per buy, the 150 pounds equals 2,400 purchases of meth.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Boshears of the Pittsburgh Field Office stated an approximate street value was not certain, adding “it would depend on the purity of the meth before you could make that determination but the amount of the currency confiscated was $86,000.”
Stuart stated the path of the meth started in Mexico and made its way into Arizona before coming eastward. Stuart said the cooperation of the West Virginia State Police, Arizona State Police and FBI field offices in Tampa, Cincinnati, Detroit and Phoenix “provided valuable assistance in this investigation.”
Boshears said operations of this size “just don’t happen overnight. Today’s takedown should send a message to people thinking of trying to do drug business here; don’t do it.”
Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Pat Lefebure stated “we couldn’t have done this by ourselves. But with the help with the manpower, today’s arrests and drug confiscation will have a great impact on the the city of Parkersburg and the Mid-Ohio Valley.”
Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens said the raids “went as expected but it wasn’t without risk. Some had weapons but no one was injured. The good guys went home and the bad guys went to jail.”
Of the 30 arrests, 12 were of local and state charges while 18 people were arrested and taken to Charleston to face federal charges.
“To the drug dealers whose doors we didn’t knock on this morning,” Stephens said, “keep looking over your shoulder for us.”